Study: Louisiana moving down and south

December 19, 2006

U.S. geologists say they have determined Louisiana is subsiding vertically and moving southward in respect to North America.

A Louisiana State University-led team studied global positioning system data collected since 1995 and found Louisiana -- including New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta -- are affected by the subsidence. They hypothesize that occurs, in part, because the area is situated on the hanging wall of a fault system that separates North America from deltaic sediments.

The scientists theorize the sediments and underlying bedrock are moving southward due to gravitational instabilities created by sediment of the Mississippi River Delta loading Earth's crust and mantle, and by rising sea levels during continental glacial retreat.

Since New Orleans and other communities of southeastern Louisiana devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita lie atop that active fault system, the researchers caution possible future motion of the area should be considered during the region's reconstruction.

The study by Roy Dokka of Louisiana State University, Giovanni Sella of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Timothy Dixon of the University of Miami appears in the December issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: ESA image: Mississippi swampland

Related Stories

ESA image: Mississippi swampland

September 18, 2015

This Sentinel-2A 'colour vision' image captures part of the Mississippi swamps on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River, south of New Orleans and north of the Mississippi Delta.

Saving Louisiana's coast

August 27, 2015

It was Day Nine after Katrina struck in 2005 when Sarah Mack's bosses at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans called her back to work.

Researchers model Deepwater Horizon oil spill

March 18, 2014

Dr. Jason Jolliff is an oceanographer with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). "The emphasis here," he says, "is on developing models of the ocean environment to help the naval warfighter." His most recent paper, published ...

Recommended for you

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

October 1, 2015

Berkeley geologists have uncovered compelling evidence that an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes in India for hundreds of thousands of years, and that together these planet-wide ...

History shows more big wildfires likely as climate warms

October 5, 2015

The history of wildfires over the past 2,000 years in a northern Colorado mountain range indicates that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate, according to new study led by a University of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.